Driving through Riverside this summer? You’d best have a podcast downloaded or an audiobook in the car.

What with Highway 22 squeezed into one lane and milled down to jaw-jarring perfection, summer here is starting to feel as long as a Starship journey to Vulcan with warp power disabled.

Just getting from the town proper to Highway 218 can be a test of patience or a white-knuckle adventure, depending on your luck in the stop-light lottery.

At best, you’ll catch a green light, bump your way through the S-curves and get a visual update on the infinitely slow and complex process of building storm drains, gutters, curbs and sidewalks.

If the signal gods aren’t smiling, you may see your fellow humans’ darker side – or even your own.

Some drivers ignore “Do Not Pass” and “Do Not Block Intersection” signs. Others speed around a line of cars waiting at the red light to crowd in at the front.

At times, the lights seem to be out of sync. You may be in a waiting line when the light turns green, but can’t move forward because a stream of vehicles is coming around the curve toward you.

When the road clears, the light turns red. If you’re entering Riverside from the east at the coming-home hour, just count on a three-signal-change wait.

Even Mother Teresa might tear her hair out.

The ordeal is all worthwhile. City mothers and fathers are to be commended. The refurbished Highway 22 through town will be beautiful, especially combined with last year’s new streetscape.

Until we’re driving on silk, here’s a plea to all Riverside motorists to breathe deeply, treat others as you’d like to be treated and remember, above all, the safety of the workers choking dust to make things better for us.

Emery Styron


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